Kelly Klassmeyer was wondering why no Texas artists feature in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, so she visited the show. Writing on Glasstire, she reassures the state’s artists: “It’s ‘cause none of y’all had any work that sucked enough.”
There was an entire room of painting that looked like it was from some museum education program showcasing the work of talented high school seniors. I’m serious. I’m all for enthusiastically, intentionally bad painting, but mediocre painting?
There was also a bunch of just plain old boring painting. Tauba Auerbach’s paintings that, oooooo, look like they are folded (but aren’t!) have a cheap gimmicky, third-rate gallery feeling to them. Meanwhile, I doubt Charles Ray’s big insipid flower paintings would have ever been included if the weren’t by a guy who had previously created works like the 1992 Oh! Charley, Charley, Charley…, a giant sculpture featuring an orgy of lifelike, life-sized replicas of the artist pleasuring each other.
And here’s a bonus: While in New York, Klassmeyer also checked in on Dallas artist Erick Swenson’s show at the James Cohan Gallery, though she says she enjoys some of the artist’s earlier works more:
Swenson’s wonderfully talented but in this most recent piece it feels like he’s getting lost in his formidable technical skills. The thing itself wasn’t as interesting as the fact that he could make it look so real. It really, really did look like there was a rotting deer carcass lying in a Chelsea gallery. But I still have a soft spot for kookier early Swenson pieces like his untitled 1998 work featuring polar explorer baboons in matching denim snowsuits.